Scalable mesenchymal stem cell enrichment from bone marrow aspirate using deterministic lateral displacement (DLD) microfluidic sorting†
The growing interest in regenerative medicine has opened new avenues for novel cell therapies using stem cells. Bone marrow aspirate (BMA) is an important source of stromal mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Conventional MSC harvesting from BMA relies on archaic centrifugation methods, often leading to poor yield due to osmotic stress, high centrifugation force, convoluted workflow, and long experimental time (∼2–3 hours). To address these issues, we have developed a scalable microfluidic technology based on deterministic lateral displacement (DLD) for MSC isolation. This passive, label-free cell sorting method capitalizes on the morphological differences between MSCs and blood cells (platelets and RBCs) for effective separation using an inverted L-shaped pillar array. To improve throughput, we developed a novel multi-chip DLD system that can process 2.5 mL of raw BMA in 20 ± 5 minutes, achieving a 2-fold increase in MSC recovery compared to centrifugation methods. Taken together, we envision that the developed DLD platform will enable fast and efficient isolation of MSCs from BMA for effective downstream cell therapy in clinical settings.